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Mining icon McEwen calls Ottawa ‘idiots' for winding down gold stockpile

Ottawa’s decision to sell virtually all of its gold reserves is drawing harsh criticism from gold bug Rob McEwen.

The founder of Goldcorp (G.TO) and chairman of McEwen Mining (MAQ.TO) called the government “idiots” for winding down the bullion reserves to virtually nothing.

Canada’s gold holdings are shown at a balance of zero in the latest statement of international reserves from the Department of Finance. The federal government sold 21,851 ounces of gold coins for settlement in February, leaving a nominal holding of 77 ounces.

“They’ve done exactly what the Bank of England did back in 2001,” he said. “They’ve sold gold at the bottom of the market. … We’re supposed to be a country based on resources, and we give gold away.”

The Canadian government has been reducing its holdings of the precious metal for years, but this is the first time it has declared itself to be effectively gold-free since the reserve account was established in July, 1935.

Data from the World Gold Council suggests Canada is the only G7 country without a significant stockpile of gold.

- with files from The Canadian Press

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